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Emails for March 2009
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Meet the Candidates Should Include... |

Meet the Candidates Should Include...

I appreciate Jason's note. Someone needs to clarify this whole issue and this is what I know…the local candidates from Toluca (2 of these 3 candidates are relatively new comers to Toluca) asked the Toluca Businessmen's Association if they could come to one of their meetings to get their names and faces out there. The Businessmen's Association thought it would be a good idea but that maybe they should open their meeting to the public and this is where the meet the candidates' night came from. I cannot speak for this group as I am not a member, but their intentions weren't to exclude anyone. It was to get some new candidates in front of the public and let these candidates discuss their positions on the issues. Again, I can't speak for the businessmen's association, but I believe that they felt as though the incumbents' positions on the issues have already been well stated and documented at the recent public hearings and board meetings that we have all been involved in.

As far as having the children of Fieldcrest and the district's best interest in mind…I think that's why everyone, including the current new candidates, are trying to get involved now. Each of the new candidates, including Justin Faulk, has attended every one of the recent public meetings and has or will have children in the Fiedlcrest school system. They all have a vested interrest in what happens in our district. In addition, several of the new candidates have also regularly been in attendance at the monthly scheduled board meetings. How many of us can say the same? I have sat through a majority of these meetings as well and do you know how many times we have heard from the board members and teachers that we need to show more involvement in the district? I know that I for one was not involved before and this is my own fault, especially being a Toluca City Councilman and future father (God willing) of a Fieldcrest student. I will not make that mistake again. We all need to be involved…everyone in the district…including people who don't have students in the district anymore. Everyone needs to have a voice in what happens within our district. I have family and friends' kids who attend Fieldcrest from all over our district…I want to see what is best for them. Period. I think this is the general sentiment of the majority of people living within the Fieldcrest district, as evidenced by our support of Fieldcrest and recent referendums that were passed. I would like to add that, I have been told both directly and indirectly by board members, administrators and teachers that Toluca, in general, has never gotten involved in Fieldcrest issues, so I think we are all trying to make amends for this. There's no agenda that people from Toluca have that doesn't have the children of Fieldcrest's best interest at heart and I am sure that we all want the best for our students. After all, why would anyone within our district do something that would negatively impact our children, our future? We want the same as you, and I believe everyone else in the district, and, am I correct in saying that we (all of our communities) are all in this together?

However, I don't understand how anyone can believe that our district can survive without the towns that they serve remaining prosperous…there is a dichotomy that exists between the school district and the communities they serve. As I am sure you are aware, the decisions that the communities and the school district makes do not take place in a vacuum. Decisions made by one body directly influence the other. There should be no debate on this. If Toluca, Wenona, Dana, Rutland, LaRose or Minonk begin to suffer financially, our entire district will suffer. Our communities' prosperity is not an independent Toluca, Wenona, Dana, Rutland, LaRose or Minonk issue…it is simply a Fieldcrest issue. I don't mean to be-little anyone, but our district's survival relies on the taxes our respective communities and the people and businesses within these communities generate. It seems relatively simply to me, but if a decision is made by the school district that hurts one or two or even all of our communities; it will have a direct impact on Fieldcrest and the level of services they can provide. After all, if people or businesses leave the district, our tax base goes down and so does the funding that is generated for Fieldcrest. This leaves the remaining people within the district a choice…do they increase taxes to cover the decreases in funding and maintain the levels of education they had or do they try to work with the reduced funding available and eliminate programs? With our current economy, this isn't a possibity, but instead is becoming a harsh reality whether we like it or not.

I would love for Fieldcrest to have brand new schools and offer as many programs as possible to improve our children's education. However the simple reality is that we have limited funding and limited resources that we have to make the best of. I, along with many others, want to see Fieldcrest making the best use of the resources we have to teach our children as best as they can. If I (or anyone else for that matter) do not agree with a decision the board proposes, I have a right to state my option. As I am taxpayer and member of this district, this is my right. It does not mean that I am trying to sabotage our children's' education, or that I have some secret agenda, or that I don't have the children of Fieldcrest's best interest at heart. It means simply that I disagree and believe that there is another alternative. Is this wrong? Anyone else living within our district has this same right and can exercise this whenever they want.

Our small communities are struggling. It is a sad reality. I have been on the city council here in town for over 10 years and we have faced funding challenges on a daily basis, but we are surviving. Notice I say surviving…things are not easy for us and I am sure this is the same for the other communities within our district. I want to see what is best for everyone within our district…Fieldcrest, Wenona, Dana, Rutland, Toluca, LaRose or Minonk and all of the people living in and around these communities.

Jim Vallazza